As the men’s, the women’s EOC relay race at Lugnet arena was also full of surprises and drama. After the second leg, Switzerland was in the lead with one and half minute ahead of chasing teams of Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
However, the Swiss superstar Simone Niggli who got earlier this week 3 EOC individual gold medals had already done her race. Surprisingly, she ran the second leg, and not the last one. Why? „I twisted my ankle this morning when I was jogging so I was very insecure if I can run at all. Then I tested it here and it went ok, but I still felt it, and we decided that is not the best to take the risk on the last leg where you have to push very very fast on the last part,“ Simone depicted the trouble with her ankle.
So the fight for gold became open again. And it was a drama until the last meters – a thriller with two main actors, Russian Tatiana Ryabkina and Minna Kauppi from Finland. „Just on this wooden bridge few meters before the finish line I understood I would win,“ Ryabkina told after finishing nine seconds before Kauppi.
„It is so important medal for us because we never got a gold medal. We have some silver and bronze in relay but never gold. Even in individual races we don’t have any gold, so for us it is really big event,“ Tatiana revealed the Russian joy.
The home team who defended gold from the 2010 EOC came as the third, 55 seconds behind Russia.
How did the race go for the Russian winning trio?
„I just ran with other girls and didn’t loose so much time, so I think I did my goal for the first leg perfectly. It feels like the first leg is not so important as the second and third one,“ Natalia Efimova humbly told after finishing 8th, only 12 seconds behind by then leading team of Denmark.
„I did very good race, maybe just very small mistakes. I did everything I could today,“ Svetlana Mironova said. She came as the third from the secong leg, one and half minute behind by then leading Switzerland.
„The girls did very good race so I could start at the beginning, and it was very important, of course. I did a good race. We ran with Minna together some time, but then there was some gaffling and then I was a little bit better. But then I did a small mistake and we were together again. But I felt I could run faster than her,“ Tatiana Rybkiana described how it came that the Russians won today.
„We were so surprised she could run so fast, faster than Minna, impossible! But she did it!“ Mironova smiled.